Cities across the United States have been reporting a spike in gun violence and homicide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first six months of 2020, there was a nearly 15% increase in murders nationwide, and across a sample of 59 cities tracked by the FBI, the number of murders was up 28% from January through July compared to the same period in 2019, according to The New York Times.
The increase reflects a sudden reversal of a longer-term trend, as violent crime has fallen in the U.S. for four consecutive years. There were 367 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the United States in 2019, a low not seen since 2014 and a far cry from the highs of the early 1990s, when rates topped 750 violent crimes per 100,000 people annually.
Violent crime is a broad category of offenses comprising four sub categories: murder, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault. In Flat Rock, Michigan, violent crime is far less common than it is nationwide. In 2019, the most recent year of available data, there were a total of 17 violent crimes reported in the city — or 170 for every 100,000 people. Click here to see the full crime report for Flat Rock.
The FBI tracked violent crime in 4,548 U.S. cities with populations of at least 5,000 in 2019, and 98% of those cities reported at least one violent crime that year. Of the 4,473 cities to report one or more incidents of violence, Flat Rock ranks No. 2,410 by violent crime rate, which ranks it in the middle 50% of U.S. cities.
Although violent crime is less common in Flat Rock than it is nationwide, violent crime is more common in Michigan than it is nationwide. There were a total of 43,686 violent crimes reported in Michigan in 2019, or 437 for every 100,000 people. Of all 50 states, Michigan has the 13th highest violent crime rate.
The violent crime rate in Flat Rock ranks as No. 129 of the 220 cities in Michigan that are home to at least 5,000 people for which the FBI has data.
Across the United States, aggravated assault is the most common form of violent crime. Of the 1.2 million violent crimes committed in the U.S. in 2019, about 66% were incidents of aggravated assault. In Flat Rock, aggravated assault accounted for 71% of all reported violent crimes in 2019.
Of the four types of violent crime, murder ranks the highest on the FBI’s hierarchy of crime severity. Flat Rock, a city of about 10,000 residents, is one of 2,956 U.S. cities reviewed to report no murders in 2019. The national murder rate stands at five incidents for every 100,000 people.
The relationship between economic distress and crime in a given area is not direct. However, lower-income areas often report higher than average crime rates. There are exceptions to this pattern however, and though the violent crime rate is considerably lower than the national average in Flat Rock, the poverty rate is not. An estimated 15.0% of Flat Rock residents live below the poverty line, closely in line with the 14.1% U.S. poverty rate.
Violent offenses are just one component of crime in an area. To provide a more comprehensive view of overall crime levels across the country, 24/7 Wall St. recently published extensive crime reports with data visualizations for over 4,000 cities and all 50 states. Click here to see the complete crime report for Flat Rock here.